Winter Weather Awareness Week: Road safety tips

Roads during snowfall Feb. 4, 2021.

It's Winter Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin, so it's a perfect time to review safety tips before hitting the road this winter season. 

The National Weather Service in Milwaukee has put together some great tips to keep you and your passengers safe, and what you should do in certain weather conditions. 

Before you hit the road this season, be sure to winterize your vehicle. Check all parts of your vehicle that may be affected by temperature and your car's wipers. Also, it's good to carry an emergency supply kit and more than a half-tank of gas, in case things go wrong. Once the season starts you'll need to check your vehicle frequently to make sure it's ready for winter weather. 

As winter weather starts, remember to check the forecast and road conditions. Plan ahead and give yourself extra time. Drive at speeds for the condition of the road, which may vary depending on the severity of winter weather. Never use cruise control and leave extra space between vehicles ahead of you on the road.

While you're driving in winter weather, make sure your vehicle's headlights are turned on and you do not crowd the plow. That way other drivers can see your vehicle through potentially low visibility and the plows can continue doing their job to improve road conditions. 

Although wintry precipitation may not always stick to roads immediately, parts of roadways such as bridges and overpasses will become slick first in most cases. This is because the air is cold above and below the road surface rather than just above. Be cautious of these road surfaces during winter weather, especially if untreated. 

Black ice is one of the more dangerous wintry road conditions as it can sneak up on you. After snow melts or it rains, and temperatures fall below freezing shortly after nightfall, black ice can form on untreated roadways. 

Here are some ways to look for black ice if it is in the forecast:

Lastly, one of the most dangerous road conditions is freeing rain. In this scenario it is important to pay attention to the local forecast. If severe enough, roads may not be treatable for some time, leading to nearly undrivable road conditions. 

This is because freezing rain can easily wash away salt and other treatments, leading to iced-over roads. 

Be sure to drive safely this winter! Winter weather is a major contributor to weather-related accidents nationwide. If the temperature is below freezing and wintry road conditions are expected, make sure you are prepared ahead of time.

One way to stay prepared is to download the FOX6 Storm Center App and tune in to your local forecast from the FOX6 Weather Experts on-air and online.

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